the weblog of Alan Knox

The ekklesia and the kuriakon

Posted by on Jul 23, 2007 in definition | 89 comments

The Greek term ἐκκλησία (ekklesia) is normally translated by the English word “church” in the New Testament. What most people do not know is that the English word “church” did not originate from the word ἐκκλησία (ekklesia) nor from the concept of the ἐκκλησία (ekklesia) as expressed in the New Testament.

Instead, the English word “church” originated with the Greek word κυριακός‚ (kuriakos), which means “belonging to the Lord”. This word is used twice in the New Testament:

When you come together, it is not the Lord’s [κυριακόν – kuriakon] supper that you eat. (1 Corinthians 11:20 ESV)

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s [κυριακῆkuriake] day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet… (Revelation 1:10 ESV)

In both of these verses, the adjective κυριακός (kuriakos) is used to specify the owner of the “supper” or “day”, that is, the supper and day belonged to the Lord. This word belongs to a completely different somantic domain (range of meanings) than the Greek word ἐκκλησία (ekklesia).

Eventually, the place where believers met together came to be called “the Lord’s house” using the term κυριακόν (kuriakon), which is the neuter version (literally, “the Lord’s thing”). This word made its way into both German (“Kirche”), Anglo Saxon (“circe”), and Middle English (“chirche”). It is interesting that when Luther translated the New Testament into vernacular German, he did not use the word “Kirche” to translate ἐκκλησία (ekklesia), he used the German word “Gemeinde”, which means something similar to the English word “community”. However, many Germans still refer to the “church” as the “Kirche”.

When Tyndale translated the New Testament into English in 1536, he also did not use the word “church” to translate the Greek word ἐκκλησία (ekklesia). Instead, he used the word “congregation”. However, within the next 100 years, all English translations normally used the word “church”.

In some modern languages, the word currently used for the church did derive from the Greek word ἐκκλησία (ekklesia). For example, the French word “église” and the Spanish word “iglesia” derive from the Greek word ἐκκλησία (ekklesia) through the Latin “ecclesia”. This does not mean that “église” and “iglesia” are always used in the same way that the New Testament authors used the word ἐκκλησία (ekklesia). We know that the meaning of words change with time.

So, it does not matter what word is used to reference the church in the New Testament. We can use “church”, or “community”, or “église”, or “iglesia”. It is not the word itself that is important. Instead, it is important how we use those words. Do we use them to refer to buildings or organizations or denominations or clergy? If so, then we are not referring to the same thing that the New Testament authors were referring to when they used the Greek word ἐκκλησία (ekklesia). However, if we use these words to refer to the people of God, then we are referring to the church, or community, or église, or iglesia, or ekklesia that Christ loved and for whom he gave himself.


89 Comments

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  1. 7-24-2007

    Thanks for sharing this … it’s interesting :)

    ~Heather

  2. 11-3-2010

    Amazing. I’ve been given what I would call a bona fide “revelation” several times in my relationship with God, and your article hits on one of the most recent ones. These are deep waters that you’re wading into. Specifically, God spoke to me a simple phrase – “There is No Church”. I felt moved to look up ekklesia in my Vine’s Expository Dictionary. I couldn’t find it! The word church only refers you to “assembly, or congregation”. There IS a body of Christ – it is us, but this notion of “church” as we know it today… that it is a pathway to finding God is one that is currently being cleared up in my mind every day. It’s a wonderful revelation. There is freedom in knowing that our calling is not from man, but from God Himself. There is no ordinating corporation made by man that can “sanction” us as Christians. Shortly after “getting” this revelation, I read Galations… Paul was adamant, (from verse one!) to let the reader know that he didn’t receive his calling from the Apostles, the brethren, or any religious governing body – but from Jesus himself! Amazing! How much confusion has been caused by those who have added to the Word of God by forcing their religion upon man?
    God bless.

  3. 1-8-2012

    Good piece. Thanks!

    Can you transliterate the Greek words, please? The Greek characters are not coming through when I look at this web page (on my iMac). For example, the Greek characters for “ekklesia” appear this way: ἐκκλησία

    I’d like to share and link to your article, if that’s okay. Cleaning up those words would help your readers.

  4. 1-9-2012

    Rick,

    Thanks for the heads up! All of my Greek fonts were messed up about a year ago during a database update. I’ve changed them in some of my older posts, but not all of them. This is definitely a post that needed to be updated.

    -Alan

  5. 1-10-2012

    Another thought about our choice of words and the ideas they convey . . .

    Jesus modeled his church after the Greek “ekklesia” (“summoned assembly” or town hall), not the “theatron” (“place of viewing” or theatre). The town hall represents the church in the New Testament — an open meeting where everyone participates as co-equals, under the oversight and guidance of elders, in addressing the needs of the community. Yet most churches today resemble the theatre — a gathering of mostly-passive spectators watching a staged presentation.

    Given the latter assumption and impression in the minds of most about what “church” means, your explanation is very helpful. Thank you!

  6. 2-16-2012

    Because church is a man-made invention, it must function within the structural frame work that all man-made inventions must function within. That system is called the world, or kosmos, or world order. The world and all of its systems are passing away, including “church”, but the kingdom of God endures forever, and that is truly Good News.
    I do not see church as an enemy to the Lord’s Ekklesia anymore than the Jewish Temple and the Law was. I will not attack it or revile against it, I am simply walking away from it. It cannot be redeemed because it doesn’t and cannot belong to Him.
    What we have in our institutional churches are crumbling houses built on shaky human constructs. What we have around our crumbling churches are perishing people looking to a system that can never save them, and may in fact keep them from the real truth about Jesus….heartbreaking isn’t it?
    The great deception and affront to the grace of God is: the church system is primarily, a return to the Old Covenant ways disregarding the sacrificial Lamb of God, the blood of the New Covenant (a superior Covenant), and His finished work on the cross. Church with its emphasis on the Law (rule keeping and outward behaviors), and a revised form of the Levitical Priesthood (authoritative professional leadership positions, and submission to them), and Temple Worship (buildings, objects, and traditional routines) negatively impacts The New Covenant Way of body ministry. The church system numbs the mind and spirit to the wonders of the New Covenant, and the continuing work and power of the Holy Spirit, to the priesthood of the individual believer, to true experiential faith, and to true body life. It inserts itself as the right way to God, (all the while usurping our risen Savior’s rightful place of preeminence in our lives), and it wrongly emphasizes our service to the usurpers, in place of service to Christ. The net result of all of this: there is no good fruit, and what fruit is produced is after its own kind. Devoid of joy, little peace, little rightness, and little freedom.
    This church religious system minimizes true relationship to Christ and His Lordship (which is the leadership of His Spirit). There is a perceived need for leaders to control people and situations. The tool of choice is: the scriptures used as a hammer on the Lord’s living stones. Because of the lack of understanding of the significance of Christ’s finished redemptive work on the cross, church attenders live under bondage and manipulation, being coerced and continually measured by the bible rule book. Using the bible as a rule book, results in pride, guilt, shame and works based acceptance. Through religious routines, programs, services, and works, the supernatural Way of the New Covenant and the importance of His spiritual bride (the ekklesia) is obscured.
    Church is simply a repackaging of the Old Covenant in functional denial of the arrival of the spiritual Kingdom of God. This “church” has lead untold millions astray from the true joyful reality found only in intimate one on one relationship with the Savior of the world, and their place in His bride – the ekklesia.

  7. 2-24-2012

    Great post. Thanks for explaining this. It occurred to me that “the Lord’s thing” could be contrasted with “our thing,” the Mafia specifically, but also anything human-focused in general.

  8. 4-10-2012

    Church was made up by the Roman Catholic Popes and we designed to cause devidion of the body of Christ and that is why you see all of these denominations ( aka devisions) that war after each other. And another thing that you might have noticed http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah#5:4 the original scrolls did not have champters or verses it was added by the Cathlolic Popes and why would God want devisions in His body and His Word. I don`t image John saying Champter 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Then say Champter 2. Like for instance if you read Romans champter 5 as a whole it makes sense as Paul talking about carnal and how it is an emeny of God.

  9. 4-10-2012

    Please read this site http://www.scribd.com/doc/14424778/The-Origin-Of-The-Word-CHURCH it back ups my points. I don`t hate Catholics

  10. 4-10-2012

    John,

    I’ve written about the origin of the word “church” on this blog. The English term used is not important. What that term refers to and how it is defined is extremely important. When I use the term “church,” I’m referring to the body of Christ, those who are in God’s family who are gathered together.

    No, the books included in Scripture were not originally written with chapter/verse divisions, and I believe it is helpful to read and study without those divisions.

    There were several different versions of chapter and verse divisions. The one in use today was not developed by the Catholic Church. It was developed by Protestants and first used in the Geneva Bible.

    -Alan

  11. 4-10-2012

    The church is not the Body of Christ it is a biulding and the Body of Christ is people or ekklesia in Greek. And how is the meaning of the Eglish word church not importian since we are talking to English people with the idea of the traditional biulding in mind and not a Body of believers. Like the word “let” in old English it meant to bind or to hinder and now it it use it to let go. Do you read the seven lamb stands as being the traditional “church” biulding or as an assembly of Gods people. George Fox teached the same thing and he was kicked out of many church biuldings when he sadi ” That the Body of Christ is not the bricks of the chuch biulding, but are the living members of the Body that are rightous”. He was also against man made religous struchure that he called steeple houses. He was back in the 1600 and he was against the same stuff you have now. Alan have you read the link I gave you for the secound post. I also believe words do have meanings to them like the querto the thnig that looks like the tri emblem it is really 3 666 and you see it on some bibles. I work on PCs and words have alot of meaning to them like PING tracrt DNS rDNS gateways. If you don`t know the Eglish meaning of those workds it will not work right will it null

  12. 4-10-2012

    John,

    Words do not have single meanings. They typically have ranges of meanings. For example, the English term “church” has several meanings. I do not use the word “church” to mean a building or an organization. By the way, the Spanish term iglesia and the French term eglise both come from the Greek term ekklesia. However, those terms are also used with the same range of meanings as the English term church.

    Not only do words have ranges of meanings, but those meanings change with time. Yes, many people use the English term “church” to refer to a building. I do not use it that way, and I explain how I’m using the term and how I’m not using the term. Your questions about buildings and bricks are irrelevant for me, since that is not how I am using the term church.

    It is fine with me if you choose to use another term besides church. However, don’t assume that everyone is referring to a building when they use the term church. That would be an invalid assumption.

    -Alan

  13. 4-10-2012

    John,

    By the way, your example from the IT world of the word “ping” proves my point. Until a few years ago, everyone knew that “ping” meant “to produce a sharp sound.” I don’t think that’s the way you were using it though.

    -Alan

  14. 6-1-2012

    So, in Matt 16.18 where Jesus says he will build the church is he referring to community, ecclesia or the Body? ;)

  15. 6-1-2012

    [ mt.16.18 ] καγω δε [AND I ALSO] σοι [TO THEE] λεγω [SAY,] οτι [THAT] συ [THOU] ει [ART] πετρος [PETER,] και [AND] επι [ON] ταυτη τη [THIS] πετρα [ROCK] οικοδομησω [I WILL BUILD] μου την [MY] εκκλησιαν [ASSEMBLY,] και [AND] πυλαι [GATES] αδου ου [OF HADES] κατισχυσουσιν [SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST] αυτης [IT.]

    Scrivener, Frederick Henry Ambrose (2010-06-20). Interlinear Greek New Testament Bible (Kindle Locations 5902-5915). Joshua T Dickey. Kindle Edition. At the time when the Greek scrolls where writen the church did exit at that time. So the wrters knew the difference between a temple system church and ekklesia God`s called out assembly. Gibbys if you want to know more about ekklesia you can add me on facebook at stigleman@hotmail.com. The church is not bibical at all.

  16. 6-1-2012

    Gibby, We know a lot about what the intended meaning of ekklesia was from Josephus writings, and from local public documents of the day. It meant an “assembly”. When Jesus said it was “His assembly” and in the context of the rest of that passage, it indicates a special gathering of The Lord’s people to exercise kingdom authority.What the Athenians and other local governing bodies used the word for, meant a local called out assembly to co-govern with authority to make local laws.
    Matthew 16:18- 19a “So I tell you, you are Peter.On this rock I will build my(ekklesia), and the power of death will not be able to defeat it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; the things you don’t allow on earth will be the things that God does not allow, and the things you allow on earth will be the things that God allows.”

  17. 6-4-2012

    Gibby,

    In English, there is no word that is derived directly from the Greek term ekklesia. “Church” is a good as a term as any, as long as it is defined in a the way that “ekklesia” would have been used by the NT authors. Thus, the church/ekklesia is the body of Christ and the community who shares their lives together in Christ.

    John and Marc,

    I would take your arguments more seriously if you didn’t cut/paste the same things, and if you consistently disapproved of other English words for the same reasons as the English word “church”. Again, like I’ve told you both before, I’m not opposed to you using a different word besides “church”. I think that’s great, and I understand why you would choose to do so. However, I do not think you are helping the body of Christ by making disparaging and derogatory remarks about God’s children who do use the English term “church” to refer to the body of Christ (not the institutions or organizations that you vilify).

    -Alan

  18. 6-4-2012

    Thanks, Alan. I completely agree with your thoughts throughout. Just testing the waters of thought.

    grace and peace…

  19. 6-4-2012

    Interesting, “disparaging and derogatory remarks about God’s children who do use the English term “church”.” I do not intend to weary you. I never made any disparaging or derogatory remakes about any of God’s children.

  20. 6-4-2012

    Marc and John,

    Marc is correct. Neither of you made “disparaging and derogatory remarks about God’s children.” I honestly do not know what I read into your comments. Please forgive me.

    -Alan

  21. 6-4-2012

    No problem, I thought you were probably just tired. : )

  22. 6-4-2012

    I forgive you Alan, we all have thoses days.

  23. 6-4-2012

    Marc and John,

    Thank you, both.

    -Alan

  24. 6-4-2012

    Alan…it must be fatigue from running a marathon a day.

    peace…

  25. 6-23-2012

    The word ekkleethee in John 2 concerning Jesus coming to the wedding, He was not called for the Greek has a word for KAlxxxx so the translation is the one invited to the wedding. If we look at the word ekkleesian is formed of three pharase EK-Klee-sian and the it is used in Matthew 16:18 Normally translated as church by order of King James himself. It should be that we start with the last word first to correct that be fore we translated ekkleesian. In the English the verse ends with the word it when it should have be of Her. Now to look at the three words of ekkleesian and ekkleesias all of the same family of words. Klee is the word invite used some 80 times. EK meaning out of the one and sian being the ones is the one as the ones. Now to construct the whole word “being the one is the one as the one invited out of the gentiles where they were scattered by my father following the divorce” and the gates of hell shall not prevail against HER.
    It is the same word that Paul uses in his writings when he writes to the ekkleesia meaning the ones is the ones as the ones invited out of the ones or the greater meaning out of the gentiles where they were scattered by the father in ISAiah. He writes only to the ethnee 43 times the ethnee are referred to as the righteous gentiles that were scattered by the father, Isa 46 God referrs to the children who are assembled and have escaped the gentiles.
    Jesus said the gentiles were of their father the devil from the beginning Jesus never offered the gentiles salvation in the 23 chapters of the book of Matthew.
    See my article You are of Your Father the Devil.
    The ekkleesias is never the church of the heathens which are being deceived by roaming wolves seeking who they may devour. The church was conceived by the Latins who did not know God but copied the mother worship out of Bablyon for their goddess even to this day in the church of Rome. Nothing has changed it has always been the heathen church to deceive heathen gentiles who are a bag of bomes waiting to fall down.
    The only resurrection in the OT is the whole House of Israel no gentiles are listed as Jesus considered them as dead as an empty grave. God told Moses that he was the God of the living which did not include the gentiles.
    Your Friend in search of the truth
    Jerry Collins

  26. 6-23-2012

    Just adding a footnote to my first comment: reference Eph 5:27
    The verse has the same mistake as Matthew 16:18 that is the verse has the word AUTEEN Meaning her then the verse reads that he is going to present her to himself glourious being the ones invited out from among the gentiles where they were scattered by the father. She is not an IT and her name is not the CHURCH. It is the wife that he is going to remarry that he died so to be able to remarry her.
    Your friend
    Jerry Collins

  27. 6-24-2012

    Gerald,

    Your etymological study of the Greek term “ekklesia” does not match the way that the term was used in the first century. The term did not have a particularly religious or political connotation. Instead, its meaning was similar to our term “assembly” or “gathering.” It could be used in many different contexts (including religious or political contexts), but those specific meanings were not carried by the term “ekklesia.” Instead, the contexts determined the type of “assembly” to which the author referred. Jesus and the authors of the NT used the term “ekklesia” to refer to God’s children as they are gathered together. There is no problem using an English term (like “church”) to refer to the same gathering/assembly as long as the usage parallels that of the term “ekklesia” in the NT.

    -Alan

  28. 6-24-2012

    Alan Knox have you heard of the Hebrew word qahal,it mean to call together, to assemble people and it very simular meaning to ekklesa/ecclesia ecclesastes. Cirice is Anglo for pagan temple and is where the word church comes from. In Latin the word for church is circus for how the pagans whould hold their sevices in circles. See the root word for cirice, and circus is cir as in cirular. It is a real question: why is ecclesia-stes is not changed to church-stes?

  29. 6-24-2012

    John,

    We’ve been through this before. Qahal was a Hebrew word that carried the idea of assembly. Ekklesia was a Greek word that carried the idea of assembly. It doesn’t matter what the etymology of those words were, because that’s how the terms were used when the Scriptures were written. In the same way, the English term “church” came from the Greek term “kuriakon” which referred to anything belonging to the Lord. However, the etymology of the word is not as important has how the word is used in context. The meaning of words change through time. When I use the word “church” today, I’m using it in the same way that the NT authors used the word “ekklesia”, and that is a valid use of the word “church”, even if you do not use it that way.

    By the way, the OT book of Ecclesiastes (the English/Latin title, by the way, not the Hebrew title) comes from a Latin transliteration – i.e., from the Vulgate. The Hebrew title of the book is Qoheleth. Most of the OT books derive their name from Latin (via the Vulgate), not Hebrew or English.

    -Alan

  30. 6-25-2012

    Alan,
    I will not belabor this point after you answer each of these simply questions, but can you explain, in your estimation, why King James and Bancroft insisted the word ekklesia be translated as church and not congregation? Why do you think Tyndale was imprisoned,tortured and murdered and burned at the stake, after he refused to translate ekklesia as church. What role do you think the devil played in Constantine’s take over of the public practice of Christianity, if any? Do you think that simple churches should speak out publicly about all of the corruption in the institutional churches? Should those who completely rely on and trust Jesus for every single aspect of their lives, be advocates for those untold millions of human beings who have been spiritually wounded, physically and spiritually raped, murdered, defiled, tortured, slandered, shunned, cast out, humiliated, lied to,manipulated, and led down the path to eternal spiritual destruction,etc; by the institutional church? Are we cowards if we love acceptance by the IC, more those the abused by the IC?
    Just asking?

  31. 6-25-2012

    Marc,

    King James instructed the translators of the English version of the Bible (which became known as the King James Bible) to use certain “ecclesiastical terms.” I’m assuming he did this to maintain control of the people, but I don’t know this. However, they used words (such as “church”) which had already been used by English translators in the past – i.e., before King James made his proclamation. Thus, the terms themselves are not controlled by King James, Bancroft, or anyone else. Check out Wycliffe’s translation, for example. Tyndale was persecuted for many different reasons, including his English translation, but not just for choosing not to use the term “church.” I do not know what role Satan played in any point in history, but I know that he loves it when brothers and sisters in Christ spend time arguing over things that are insignificant. I think the church (whether simple or not) should seek to make disciples and live as members of God’s kingdom. None of us rely on Jesus completely, so we need one another – all of our brothers and sisters – to help us trust him more. Our focus should always be on people – especially the “household of faith” – not on institutions, organizations, or hierarchies, regardless of how simple or complex they may be. Anyone who loves the acceptance of anything of than being accepted by God in Jesus Christ should be exhorted toward that kind of acceptance.

    -Alan

  32. 6-26-2012

    Alan,
    Thank you, I will do my best to put this subject bed, in regards to posting on your blog. As you know, I do believe the IC was a demonic strategy to keep the world from knowing Jesus in truth. In my opinion It has worked very, very well, and continues to do so.
    All the Best My Friend.
    Marc

  33. 6-26-2012

    Marc,

    Yes, I know that we disagree in our understanding of the Greek term “ekklesia” and the English term “church” as well as our understanding of basic human linguistics. I do appreciate your continued comments, especially in exhorting God’s people toward following him only and living in community in Jesus Christ.

    -Alan

  34. 6-26-2012

    Good to know that amount brothers we can agree on all that we can, and leave the rest to Jesus.

  35. 6-28-2012

    Alan-That’s very interesting about Ecclesiastes having the Greek word Ekklesia in it. I never once drew that connection even though it’s so obvious. I guess that happened when the Septuagint was written?

  36. 6-29-2012

    God showed me that they chould not change every ekklesia to church becuase it it give them away. An ekklesia in the Greek sense of the word was a governing body and assembly called out to govern. Look at Acts 19:39 to 41. Same Greek word is used and if ekklesia really did just mean church then it always mean the same thing. Ekklesia stes whould have to be church stes and Acts 19: 39- 41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the church, but it is not the church it is a assembly. The word church mean to gather like you do with the tears, and the weat is called out from the tears.

  37. 6-29-2012

    Rod,

    Yes, most of the names of the OT books come from the Septuagint (Greek) or the Vulgate (Latin).

    John,

    The Greek term “ekklesia” like the English term “assembly” could be used to refer to a “governing body.” But neither word carries that meaning on its own. I understand that you only use the word “church” to refer to certain types of gatherings. I do not. I use it differently.

    -Alan

  38. 6-29-2012

    I never heard of the clergy whitch is the ruling body call themself a church of clergy. They call themself a body or an assembly. The church as I see it is a noun a building made by human hands. Not the temple that God has built. Even the way you use it is a gathering place an oikas. Hebrews 10:25 is about Gods called out assembly meeting togather. Kuriakon is translated as day of the lord 1 Corin 11:20 where one is drunk and the other is starving.
    Plus ecclesia stes is not Greek but Latin becuase of the two cc in place of the two kks. As you know Latin and Greek are very simulair in meaning and spelling. Like the words: cirice (Anglo), circe ( Greek) circus(Latin) chirche ( Normanic) kirke kirka( German), circle ( English) and church ( English). Cirice is where we get the English word church from and it also refers to a pagan temple. Plus the cir is the root of circle, circus, cirice, and circe. For all of the words have this in commin they discribe pagan worship, becuase they meet in circles. Circe/ kirke as you may know is a Greek false godness with a chalice of wine and drugs. The Greek word circe and German kirke are simulair same as cirche and church are.

  39. 6-29-2012

    John,

    I understand that you don’t think that the term “church” can be applied to only the people of God assembled. I disagree. Words have different meanings and change meanings over time. That’s the way all languages work, even Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. I accept your decision not to use the term “church.” I would wish that you would accept my decision as well, even though it seems you can’t do that.

    -Alan

  40. 6-29-2012

    I am not making you Alan knox to change I am just telling my side of the story. But as for me and my house we are going to serve the Lord and no other.

  41. 6-29-2012

    John,

    That’s great! The same is true for me and my family and our friends as well: we serve the Lord only.

    -Alan

  42. 10-9-2012

    By all means, please publish my email rickdmauck@gmail.com. Ekklesia means “the chosen” or “the called out ones”, both singular and plural. It does not mean church. Kuriakon means church. I am not responsible for reprobates changing the meaning of words. Do as I do, everytime I read the word church in the New Testament I do not read church, instead, I change it in my mind to ekklesia. It gives one a totally different understanding of what is really being said in the NT. Keep in mind that ekklesia is referring to only bonafide children of God – the called out ones. I have a teaching I wrote on this from ©2005. As a previous poster hinted, I will say plainly, the idea of church and the doctrine of church in the Bible is bogos – it does not exist. It is a figment of the imagination of fallen men.

  43. 10-10-2012

    Rick,

    Changing the word “church” to “ekklesia” when you read it doesn’t really help the problem. You still have to define “ekklesia” which is not an English word. Why not just define “church,” then you can skip the intermediate step.

    -Alan

  44. 10-12-2012

    You may not feel as passionate about this as do I. It is unwise to perpetuate the usage of the word church for ekklesia. Ekklesia does not mean church, it never did, and still does not except for those in the past who have purposefully injected semantic confusion in support of an unrighteous agenda. Kuriakon means church and it crept into the Greek language circa 700 AD/CE. Kuriakon was derived from the Latin word Circe – check most any large dictionary. Circe is an interesting word. In Homer’s Odyssey, written circa 800 BC/BCE, we meet the witch Circe in book ten. Circe also has deeper meanings. Circe refers to a circle or circling, especially circling to the left or counterclockwise. To make a long story short the name Circe and its expanded meanings reflect directly back to ancient paganism, which is Satanism. Therefore, since church is not in the Bible*, I cannot advocate for its continued usage.

    *NOTE: Kuriakon is used in 1 Co 11:20 and Rev 1:10, but it was not translated as church.

    At the risk of too lengthy a response, here are a few paragraphs from a seven page teaching I wrote in 2005, updated 2012.

    3.a. Let us dig deeper into the meaning of ekklesia. Everywhere church is found in the King James New Testament (except 1 Peter 5:13) it is translated from the Greek word ekklesia. When the New Testament books were being written into the Koine Greek language of that time period, what did ekklesia mean? What did the chosen or the called out ones really refer to, or did it always refer to only Christians?

    3.b. To the contemporary secular writers ekklesia meant the assembly of the chosen. (In fact, Robert Young, in his literal translation of the Bible translates ekklesia to assembly). Several examples follow regarding the usage of ekklesia.

    (1) If a meeting was called of the Roman senate, then only senators would show up. This then could be called an assembly of the senators. Only the ekklesia would attend.

    (2) If a union would have a meeting of its members, then only those members would attend. This then could be called an assembly of the union members. Only the ekklesia would attend.

    (3) If a meeting was called for all Blood bought members of the Body of Christ, then only true Christians would attend. This then would be called an assembly of true believers in Christ. Only the ekklesia would attend.

    3.c. In other words, to the secular writers of Biblical times, ekklesia meant the chosen or those qualified to attend. You cannot invite yourself to the senate meeting if you have not been elected or appointed as a senator. You cannot attend the union meeting if you have not qualified, been accepted and joined. You cannot attend the assembly of believers in Christ if you have not been washed in the Blood, saved from your sins and born again. You must be of the ekklesia, otherwise you will be found out and thrown out.

    Matthew 22:11-14 KJV, “11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

    Rick

  45. 10-12-2012

    Rick,

    You said, “In other words, to the secular writers of Biblical times, ekklesia meant the chosen or those qualified to attend.” That was only one usage of the Greek term ekklesia in the first century. It could also be used to refer to any gathering of people or animals. Like the English term “assembly”, ekklesia could refer to many different things, religious, social, cultural, political, depending on context. The English term “church” came from a different word (kuriakon) but today there is some overlap in meanings. As long as we explain what we mean by the term “church” – i.e., never a building or system or organization – then there is no problem with using that term. If there is confusion – i.e., if you cannot use the term “church” to mean something other than a building, system, or organization – then I would recommend a different English term such as “assembly” or “gathering,” which would be close English approximations to the Greek term ekklesia – although they did not come from ekklesia either.

    If you’re interested in these different usages of the term ekklesia, I mention several in my posts “The Other ‘Church’ of Ephesus” and “The ekkesia of Josephus.”

    -Alan

  46. 10-13-2012

    I’ll check that out. In the meantime, one more thought posed here.

    You and I and 10,000 like minded Christians could get together and all agree that “church” means only those in the Body of Christ and use it for nothing else for 50 years. But at the end of that time, Christendom (those denominations and people who claim to be Christian and are not) and the world would still see the term “church” and continue to envision a building and/or denomination. An avalanche of ignorance would bury our best intentions. But if we use a word that separates our definition from theirs, we will have restored the original meaning of the Scriptures. It is not unusual for a foreign word to be adopted into our language. Besides, ekklesia is the word beneath “church” in our translations. We will not have added to, nor subtracted from the sacred Scriptures.

  47. 10-13-2012

    Rick,

    If I’m in a situation in which I cannot explain what I mean by the word “church” or a situation in which I think the the word will be misunderstood, then I use another word like “assembly” or “gathering.” Using a transliterated Greek term like “ekklesia” is not helpful in most situations.

    -Alan

  48. 10-15-2012

    Alan, I’ve viewed your articles on the ekklesia from 2007 and forward. At this time it doesn’t appear that we will come into total agreement with each other.

    My studies have convinced me that the ekklesia is not as assembly. I do not agree with Robert Young’s translation: Matthew 16:18 YLT, “And I also say to thee, that thou art a rock, and upon this rock I will build my assembly, and gates of Hades shall not prevail against it[.]”

    It does not resonant with me that Christ was building an assembly of believers. Instead, I am convinced that He was building individual believers (living stones I would say). True, they would be assembled, but the assembly of believers was different that the individual believers. 1 Peter 2:5 KJV, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by [Yahoshua the] Christ.”

    From my perspective, each separate usage of the word ekklesia seems to be over analyzed. Analyzing each usage is good scholarship, but for me it is helpful to bring it all back together afterwards and decide, does it mean what we think it means. With the same information, it appears we have arrived at slightly different conclusions.

    In an earlier post I said I was passionate about the definition of ekklesia and separating it from church. I prefer to live where the rubber meets the road. Out here on the road, I accumulated some experiences. Here are a couple of stories that highlight my concern over the misapplication of the false doctrine of church. A couple more paragraphs from my teaching…

    2.c. I am striving for a paradigm shift in people’s perception of the meaning of church. Without this drastic change, many will forever be held in bondage to the idea of a governing church or denomination that exercises authority over their religious lives and endeavors, rather than Christ. I have yet to discover a Christian denomination or cult that does not employ the word church to enslave its members under the authority of the clergy. In the next paragraph are some stories I will share that are glaring examples of this usurped authority.

    2.d. Circa 1995, having recently stopped attending a local Assembly of God church, I invited the pastor to lunch to discuss his theology with him. My relationship with him was not more than a year, but he had introduced me to my wife. Everything was fine at the lunch until I made the first hint of my concerns, that concern was his adherence to the preaching of Kenneth Copeland. He instantly went ballistic and left the meeting. In the spirit of Matthew 18:15-17, I contacted the AOG headquarters and asked for any literature regarding the “faith teachings”. I considered them damnable heresies, but I did not say that to them. I did not even have a chance to say that to the local pastor, because his immediate reaction was so severe and final. He had made no attempt to clarify my concerns, instead he bolted. To my utter joy and surprise, the AOG headquarters did have a brochure on the faith teachings and in a peaceable and non-confrontational way (far gentler than the approach I would have used) explained their position. They were non-supportive of this heresy.

    So, I retrieved a copy of the church membership with addresses from the church foyer, then mailed everyone a copy of the brochure. Within a week I had obtained a copy of the pastor’s sermon and he was every bit as ballistic in the pulpit as he had been with me at the luncheon. One statement made from the pulpit by this pastor was “Some axx, who is dangling over the pit of hell, sent out a mailer to everyone here.” The community was small enough that even though my name was not mentioned, my identity was not a secret. Nevertheless, I had not identified myself in the mailers. The fact that the mailers were provided by their denominational headquarters was all the information they needed.

    Now I had been attending another AOG church in a neighboring city for a short time. A leader in this church came to me after the Sunday morning meeting and wanted to know if I had sent out the mailers. I said I did. Then he chided me for not having obtained permission from anyone at his church before doing so. I informed him that I did not need his permission, nor anyone else’s. I acted in accordance with my own conscience. He walked away in a huff.

    I do not attend AOG churches any longer. Every time I come into contact with one, there is such blatant disorder than it is hard to describe. Let me give you a couple of examples, since the offense far exceeds the “dangling over the pit of hell” statement. One AOG church had a video silently playing prior to a service. This video was filled with pagan images. I met with a leader of this church as well over a meal and he departed in a huff. Mind you, I do not yell or point an accusing finger in the faces of these reprobates, I speak the truth in love. And they do not want to be loved.

    In another AOG church, I was listening to a sermon online and the pastor was quoting the words of a Michael Jackson song. You know, the Michael Jackson who likes to sleep with little boys and hangs his own children outside a two story window by the heels. This AOG pastor was not quoting the Bible, he was quoting MJ and ended with saying, “Tell it to us Michael.” This AOG website also revealed that this pastor used numerous perverted rock stars in his sermons and posted some of their pictures on his site. When I confronted this man via email, his response was, “How dare you speak disrespectfully to a god called and ordained pastor of the gospel.”

    This denomination, as well as a few others with which I have much personal contact, base their authority on the word church. They are the church leaders, and we – the laity – better bow down and acknowledge it. But the doctrine of church is not in the Bible.

    1 Peter 1:17 KJV, “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear[.]”
    Respectfully, Rick

  49. 10-15-2012

    Rick,

    Yes, there are many people who use the English term “church” to refer to buildings or systems or organizations or denominations. Since people will continue to read the word “church” in their English translations, it is much more helpful to explain what the word means when used in Scripture and then to use the word that way ourselves. By the way, it would be an incorrect assumption to think that everyone uses the word “church” to refer to buildings or systems or organizations or denominations. I’ve found that there are more and more people every day who do not use the word “church” that way. I also believe that Jesus is building much more than an “assembly” or a “gathering,” but I do not believe that is all tied up in the Greek term “ekklesia.” Paul and the other writers of the New Testament describe God’s family in many, many different ways, and it helps to consider them all.

    -Alan

  50. 10-16-2012

    Alan, I appreciate your comments. Perhaps I will find another topic you have addressed when I have time to browse your site some more. May God bless you and your efforts. Rick

  51. 11-28-2012

    Very well done. I believe that we should bring back the word ecclesia (it is an official English word). This is because of the paradigms wrapped around the word ‘church’. I heard that King James wanted the word ‘church’ put into his bible because of his desire for church control. Have you heard this? thanks again and blessings!

  52. 11-28-2012

    Jared,

    That’s interesting. I did find the word “ecclesia” at dictionary.com. Of course, one of the meanings was “church,” so that doesn’t really help much. Whatever term we use, we will have to define it, and if we pick a term other than “church,” we’ll have to explain why “church” is used in Scripture. For me, it’s simpler to define “church” as used in Scripture.

    -Alan

  53. 11-28-2012

    You make a good point. The word isn’t as important as the way we define it.

    Personally, I wish they had kept the literal ‘called out ones’ instead of making up a word from the original Greek. Just as the should have kept the literal meaning of deacon (servant) instead of making up a new English word (deacon), they should have kept it called out ones. “On the rock I will build my called out ones”.

  54. 11-30-2012

    Today I find it very beneficial to challenge the mis-transliteration of word Ekklesia as “church”. It opens the door for discussions about all of the religious foolishness that so clouds the minds of those who the Gospel was intended to reach. For those us of who have spent years in denial in churches, a total change of mind is necessary about church based religion, and then a season of detoxification of the poison that religion has injected into our minds and hearts.

    There must be an answer for the poor performance of what is know as Christianity and church based religion here in the West. Any rational human being can see that church is a fallen system that has not worked to promote the real kingdom of God…ever. Church is of human origins on the surface and of demonic origins in the spiritual realm. To continue in the line of thinking that the word “church” doesn’t matter is to live in denial. I cannot speak to the reason for this denial, but it is highly suspect. Fear of rejection of peers perhaps.
    In any case, the time is now for all who will hear His voice, come out of the harlot and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive unto myself says the Lord.

  55. 11-30-2012

    Marc,

    As you know, I also like to discuss words and definitions. But, I’ve found it’s much more beneficial to the body of Christ to spend more time investigating how we should live among one another in Christ.

    -Alan

  56. 12-2-2012

    And so it was with the Judaizers. Mixing the old and the new wine will always produce an unsatisfactory result, not pleasing to God.
    So I urge you to put the New Wine into the new wine-skins. Put aside your fears and open up your heart to Christ and He will receive you. Do not miss this opportunity to a part of, not of a renewal, but the revelation of the true kingdom of God. Those who play it safe in their denominational church heritage will not participate, because a preparation is necessary to be ready. We see in Scripture, a glimpse of the former rain in the book of Acts. Now we shall see that which you would not believe even if you were told. But just as the door was closed after the rain began, so it will be again.

  57. 12-2-2012

    Marc,

    I’m guessing that you would be quite offended if I said something similar to you. I’m going to assume that I’m misunderstanding you and that you’re not questioning my position in Christ simply because I continue to use the English term “church.” My heart is Christ’s, and he has received me – by his grace, not because of anything in me. I think you’re fighting the wrong battle with the wrong enemy.

    -Alan

  58. 1-9-2013

    Alan and Marc,

    The only thing I would want to add is, even though you know what you mean when you use the word (Alan), do the people you are speaking to understand your definition?
    I am not foolish enough to use the word Ekklesia when speaking to pre believers, but I certainly don’t use the word church with them either, as they WILL most definitely misinterpret it.

    I just don’t use any word at all, and prefer to speak of gathering to encourage, pray, serve, eat, worship. No label is necessary at all.

    So again, who are we really using the word for? For the benefit of unbelievers? Or is it because we can not give up the sacred cow that is the word “church”?

    God Bless,

    Paul.
    @pashakubov

  59. 1-9-2013

    Paul,

    Whenever I use the term “church” around people who I do not know, I always define what I mean by the term. If I think there is confusion or misunderstanding, then I do not use the term “church.” To me, the word “church” is not a sacred cow. I use it sometimes, and sometimes I don’t, depending on the situation and the people who I’m talking with. To some, “church” may be a sacred cow, in which case that are adding to the meaning of the term as used in the NT. In the same way, some see “church” has an unholy cow, which is just as bad, in my opinion. “Church” is a word, like any other, and must be defined to be understood.

    -Alan

  60. 1-9-2013

    Alan, when you use the word on Twitter, a public forum, you don’t have room to explain it. Therefore a lot of people would naturally misinterpret it often. And it certainly is a word that comes up in your twitter feed a lot.
    The challenge of post modernism is to find new ways to convey truth without relying on all of the old words and methods,

  61. 1-9-2013

    Paul,

    From what I can tell, almost everyone understands that Twitter is not mean for lengthy explanations. Anyone following the links to my posts would find definitions to many words that are often misunderstood, including “church.” By the way, have you ever noticed how often Paul or Peter or someone else in Scripture makes a quick proclamation and leaves almost everything unexplained. Then, the explanation is given to those who are interested in hearing more.

    -Alan

  62. 1-9-2013

    Church is the correct name for something, the imposter sent to deceive the elect if possible, is it possible?

  63. 1-9-2013

    Marc,

    Church is also the word that many use to refer to gatherings of Jesus’ followers that are not part of any kind of imposter system. And, even among that system, many of the people are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

    -Alan

  64. 1-14-2013

    Aren’t we a merry bunch?! I take it at least Alan that you have dropped the word pastor?

  65. 1-14-2013

    P.S You just don’t want to change the name of your blog! (Tongue in cheek joke.)

  66. 1-14-2013

    Paul,

    “Pastor” is the Latin version of the Greek term that means “shepherd.” I use both terms with the same meaning, that is, a person who is spiritually gifted to care for others. I do not use the term as a title or in reference to a position of employment.

    -Alan

  67. 1-14-2013

    Pastor, only being used once in the NT, is suspect in lacking any other NT usage(the witness of two or three). Typically the word is used in reference to Christ Himself, “The Good Shepard”. I discount this word as being out of NT context, especially knowing that the phrase, “the office of” was a completely fabricated phrase, most likely used to support clerical positions and titles. Elders on the other hand, meaning…well elder or older, is Scriptural, and is clearly seen as a useful word. Then the multiplicity of elders, as opposed to the single pastor model, also avoids the ever popular cult of personalities common in almost every American church business.

  68. 1-15-2013

    Marc,

    The noun for pastor/shepherd is used in the context of spiritual gifts, which alone tells us that this term does not refer to an office or position. It is not a fabricated term, but a misapplied term. The verb form (“shepherding/pastoring”) is used at least two other times in the NT, once by Paul and once by Peter.

    -Alan

  69. 1-30-2013

    Alan, I am getting weary reading all this back and forth about “church.” A few things are clear though. (1)this word is not a valid translation of the Greek, ekklesia; (2)ekklesia contemplates any and all of a great variety of different kinds of assemblies; (3) church, on the other hand, notwithstanding its etymology, has long enjoyed standard usage in English as a particular denomination, entity or organization as well as some particular variant of those as well as its use to refer to the component parts or members of such a particular church as well as the colletive whole of all such churches’ members.

    If I understand your statements on the subject, however,you take license to use the term in yet another way which is (4) the physical body of believers in a collective sense, to include those participating in such a church as well as those not participating in such a church. This is where I must respectfully dissent.

    If we permit individuals to impose a particular definition on a word in Modern English in order that their use of it be justified; notwithstanding the resulting harm done to comprehension and and intelligible discourse, our ability to exchange ideas and communicate is seriously impaired. Language is first and foremost dependent on commonly understood meanings of words, its component elements and parts. True, these change over time; but the time for that to occur is great. I understand that you do not give much weight to etymology, but it is surely critical to acknowledge that church was used by pagans and those with no saving faith or knowledge of Messiah long before those today called “christian,” who speak the English language (development beginning circa 450 A.D.), began to use this English word. Further, the earliest usage of the word had no relation to its modern usage in terms of a church building, place of worship, denomination etc.

    I understand your argument to be that you have the right to use the word as you have claimed and described that usage such that those who oppose its use as an accurate translation of ekklesia are in error and you are right. For this reason, you denigrate the substitution of assembly or congregation. I invite you to consider whether it is not more accurate to state that your very argument is the underlying cause of the havoc which the word church in our English bible (virtually all translations) has wrought in the ekkesia (assembly or congregation of believers).

  70. 1-30-2013

    Michael,

    I can understand your weariness concerning this discussion. Thanks for jumping in anyway. I believe most dictionaries include a definition of the word “church” that is very similar (if not the same) as the definition that I prefer. Also, many, many people are using the word “church” in this way today. So, I’m not creating a new definition. Instead, I’m limiting the way that I use the word “church” to more closely match the way the NT authors used the word “ekklesia” when referring to God’s people.

    You definitely misunderstand one thing about my position. You said, “I understand your argument to be that you have the right to use the word as you have claimed and described that usage such that those who oppose its use as an accurate translation of ekklesia are in error and you are right. For this reason, you denigrate the substitution of assembly or congregation. ” I do not denigrate people who choose to never use the word “church,” and I do not denigrate people who use the terms “assembly” or “congregation.” In fact, I often use the terms “assembly” or “congregation” myself. I do not agree with those who say that it’s impossible to use the term “church” in a way that matches that NT authors use of the term “ekklesia.”

    -Alan

  71. 1-30-2013

    Alan,
    I will probably always fail to see the reasons for your intransigence on this issue. Would discarding this word that continues to bring harm to understanding the reality of the kingdom of God cost you too much? Would your scholastic colleagues look down on you? Is it because your church still has a denominational church sign out front? What is the price you are unwilling to pay, to side with the Truth?
    Really, you never respond to the untold numbers of sincere questioners, except with your continued stock non answer, answers.

  72. 1-30-2013

    Marc,

    I do not continue to use the word “church” for any of the reasons that you mentioned. I continue to use the word “church” because it is a valid translation of the term “ekklesia,” just as the word “God” is a valid translation of the term “theos” in spite of its origins. Yes, I know that you disagree with me, and I’m perfectly content with you choosing not to use the term “church.”

    -Alan

  73. 2-3-2013

    Alan,

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,
    “it means just what I choose it to mean neither more nor less.”

    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words to mean so many different things.’

    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master–that’s all.”

    “Through the Looking Glass,” by Lewis Carroll

  74. 2-3-2013

    Michael,

    Your quote of Carroll would be appropriate if all I had said was, “When I use a word…” But you left out this part:

    “I believe most dictionaries include a definition of the word “church” that is very similar (if not the same) as the definition that I prefer. Also, many, many people are using the word “church” in this way today. So, I’m not creating a new definition.”

    By the way, the English word “God” originated from a Sanskrit word referring to the worship of pagan deities. Many people today use the word “God” in various ways; Hindus even use the English word “God” to refer to the entirety of their pantheon of gods. When you use the word “God,” are you including all of those meanings, or do you have a specific meaning in mind?

    -Alan

  75. 2-4-2013

    I do not have any right to fashion my own “meaning” of a word when I speak or write it in discourse or conversation. This is the reason I quoted Carroll in order to put a smile and some humor in this mix.

    I may use a word improperly as when I lack understanding of its meaning or proper usage. I have done this many times. It is very likely that I will do it again. When we learn the meaning and proper usage of a word in our particular language, however, are we not bound to adhere to that meaning and proper usage in order that we be understood? When we do not so adhere, do we not sow confusion and uncertainty which is not clarified by constant explaining and qualifying as to the usage being employed?

    It is good you ask me of my use of “God.” The English “God” or “god” is, like the Arabic “Allah” or “allah”, a generic title for deity. The English “lord” or”Lord” is a title of one who commands respect or regard on some level. This is why a barrister in England continues to address the judge as “my lord.” In America, we say “your honor” but the generic meaning is the same.

    The essential meaning of church as you employ it is something like “house of the lord.” If you picture a lush country scene in England with a walled enclosure surrounding an impressive home with outbuildings, you will recall the phrase “the lord of the manor.” It is this lord who is the owner of that estate. It is this owner who is called lord to whom regard and respect is rendered by way of this title.

    When the English bible refers to the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” this is a reference to one of his titles or attributes. His name is Yahweh or Yehova, depending on preference of pronounciation of the speaker. There is not unanimity on that. There is unanimity on the tetragrammaton, YHWH, from which Yahweh or Yehova is voweled to enable pronunciation.

    There is no means by which the name of Yahweh may be translated into any language known on the earth other than Hebrew and that, imperfectly. In answer to your question, I use the word God and god as a generic title of deity; it is not the name of the Creator/Sustainer (titles, these) of all that is. Rendering the words god and lord in capital letters or even in all capital letters does not change this in the least.

    Your position seems to be that so long as a dictionary supports your use of this word “church” with the meaning you want it to carry, then all is well because it is optional. From this it is but a small, and insignificant, step for you to qualify what you mean by the word while acknowledging the liberty of others, who have a different understanding of ekklesia as meaning an assembly or congregation (people, not entities, organizations, doctrines, buildings,denominations etc) to reject the usage of the word “church” as equivalent to ekklesia.

    The confusion and uncertainty I made mention of earlier herein is plainly apparent in the understanidng of the use of the words “God” and “Lord” in our English bible. Another example is the faux argument over whether Islam and what is called Christianity worship the same “God.” It is a faux dispute because his name is not God; it is Yahweh. The religion of Islam does not know the name of the deity it calls Allah, instead construing that title as a personal name. The Greek “theos” is another example of the same thing.

    In closing, may I remind you that in the earliest translations of the English bible, “ekklesia” was translated as “congregation” and “assembly” (Tyndale Bible, 1526; Coverdale Bible, 1535; Great Bible, 1539; Bishop’s Bible, 1568). Of the earliest English translations, only the Wycliffe Bible of 1382 and the Geneva Bible of 1560 adopted the use of “church” for “ekklesia.”

    For this translation of ekklesia, Tyndale was burned at the stake by what you call the “church.”

    You, sir, are but a late incarnation of many who have preceded you in the embrace of this error in all of the 402 years since the KJV was published in 1611. Your appeal to your dictionary is curious in that it is a proof of my side of this dispute, not yours.

    The only exceptions to this “church” rendering of “ekklesia” in this post KJV era are some few modern translations, e.g., American Englsh Bible online, AEB; Hebraic Roots Bible online, HRB; and the Darby Bible online, TDB. I do not mean to endorse or recommend these as accurate translations in the overall sense because I am not sufficiently familiar with the entirety of these texts. I cite them herein only for their common translation of “ekklesia” as “congregation” or “assembly.” In that respect only do I here state my view that these are accurate translations.

    CMR

  76. 2-4-2013

    Words are malleable to begin with and their usage and meanings certainly change over time — not only between foreign cultures, but also among subcultures within one’s own country, and even among individuals (based upon their own education) — hence multiple meanings and uses provided by dictionaries.

    I’m pretty much like Alan. I use “church” and “gathering,” sometimes “summoned assembly” and in some instances delve into the more precise nuances of “ekklesia.”

    The overall idea is to communicate truth clearly. Jesus accommodated His culture in many ways — indeed, humanity as a whole by even coming into the world. I believe we can and should follow His example peaceably and with gentleness in love (in step with the fruit of the Spirit) . . . without making our point of view the Eleventh Commandment and accusing fellow brethren of ulterior motives or taking the ‘wrong side.’

  77. 2-4-2013

    Michael,

    As you can tell from previous comments, I disagree with you theologically, linguistically, and historically. I’d even suggest that you are inconsistent in your application of the terms “church” and “God,” allowing one but not the other to change in meaning depending on the speaker and context. Since you’ve already judged me based on my use of the term “church,” I don’t really see any benefit in continuing this discussion.

    Rick,

    Yes, you’re right. Words are malleable; their meanings change with time (synchronously), and they have different meanings at any given time (asynchronously). I also agree that the overall idea is to communicate clearly, which is one of the reasons that I’m careful to explain to people (when necessary) that I use the word “church” only to mean the people of God gathered together. I’m perfectly content with people choosing not to use the word “church,” and I often use other terms as well, such as “assembly,” “gathering,” “congregation,” “meeting,” etc.

    -Alan

  78. 2-14-2013

    You said;
    ‘Eventually, the place where believers met together came to be called ‘the Lord’s house’ using the term κυριακόν (kuriakon)”

    When did that shift happen?

    Keep up the great work

  79. 2-14-2013

    Dave, Apparently the Roman Catholic Church looking backwards decided to change the Scriptures for their own benefit. The Catholic Dictionary reveals that kuriakon, or kuriakos as it is sometimes written, is based upon kurios, which means “lord and master, the one who rules by usurping freewill.” This of course is wholly unrelated to ekklesia. The Catholic hierarchy needed a system whereby they could control and fleece the masses, subjecting them to their control, buildings were built and a religious institution was established, under the moniker of: “the Church.”

  80. 2-14-2013

    Dave,

    I don’t have a specific date or time period in which the transition occurred. The term kuriakon is a scriptural word, used to described a meal “of the Lord” and a day “of the Lord.” Eventually, it was used to describe other things that were “of the Lord” as well. It probably came into German through Greek sources (i.e., the Orthodox Church), but I don’t have specific references for that.

    Marc,

    The Roman Catholic Church continues to use the Latin term “ecclesia” today, a term which comes directly from the Greek term “ekklesia.” The term “church” did not come into English through Latin or through the Roman Catholic Church.

    -Alan

  81. 2-14-2013

    The derivation of the word has been much debated. It is now agreed that it is derived from the Greek kyriakon (cyriacon), i.e. the Lord’s house, a term which from the third century was used…

    From: The Catholic Encyclopedia

  82. 2-14-2013

    Marc,

    You’ll find the same etymology of the English term “church” in Protestant and nonreligious dictionaries, not just Roman Catholic dictionaries. The word “church” definitely comes from the Greek term “kuriakon,” but it didn’t come from the Roman Catholic Church. Like I said earlier, the Roman Catholic Church still releases its official information in Latin, and it still uses the Latin term ecclesia which comes directly from the Greek term ekklesia. For example, the pope recently resigned. His resignation included a few mentions of ecclesia, but no “kuriakon”… because that’s not a Latin word. Here’s the Latin version of his resignation speech.

    -Alan

  83. 3-15-2013

    Wow, what a discussion. I recently undertook a study of the word “ekklesia” myself, and what I came up with very closely resembles your original post Alan! So when I saw the link to THIS article of yours this morning, I immediately had to come check out for myself what you have managed to dg up on this subject. I penned mine in a 2-part article here:

    http://newcovenantgrace.com/organic-church/how-did-the-word-church-make-its-way-into-the-bible-pt1/

    http://newcovenantgrace.com/organic-church/how-did-the-word-church-make-its-way-into-the-bible-pt2/

    I also delved into the history of the Bible a bit in these two articles, and how King James I of England eventually decreed that all the words in the Bible with an ecclesiasitcal (did I get that right?) connotation must be translated to accurately reflect the EXISTING structures and hierarchies of the Church of England at the time, instead of leaving the original text to speak for itself.

    You are doing awesome work here Alan, keep it up!

  84. 3-15-2013

    Andre,

    Thanks for the links.Did your study of the history of English Bible translations and the word “church” bring up anything about Wycliffe? He was definitely a non-ecclesiastical type, but he used the word “church” in his English translation. And, from what I can tell, he did not mean “institution/organization/structure” kind of thing when he used the word “church.”

    -Alan

  85. 3-16-2013

    Andre, Thank you for the links, and the research involved in bring this information to light. As you can see from my earlier post, I see no benefit in the continuation of using a word “church” that has brought so much deception into the world to date.

  86. 7-30-2013

    I have to chuckle at you all after reading the string of discussions above. Itis clear that several of you are more interested in being right about semantics than being right about theology. Dissension is what I see here not effort toward unity. I see much pride about being right. I read about people leaving the AOG because somehow theyvweren’t right. Divisions, strife, and eventually its fruit, violence – this has been the way of Protestantism from the start. Its always about leaving, cuz “I’m right and they’re not”. The Roman Catholic church and its offshoot, the Anglican church may have its pretty buildings, but they also have rigt teaching through the method of apostalic succession. Its leaders are carefully chosen to pass on what has always been taught, all the way back to Jesus Christ himself. The Body of Christ, even while meeting in catacombs in secret to worship, chose Bishops and Deacons, to keep the theology of our Lord Jesus. I grew up in little fundie churches like yours, and it was always whoever at the pulpit who made the rules of right and wrong – the most charismatic, or tbe most foreceful, becomes the “pastor”. Beware the cult of the proud man who is “always right”. Note tbat the roman catholic church is still the largest Christian denomination in the world, by far and away. It’s because they have the most sound teaching, rather than because of (or in spite of their fine churches or (flawed ) institutional, authoritarian structure. I grew up Protestant, then became Anglican, and now may “cross the Tiber” to Rome. Their theology is most sound…. Love God, and love others. Do good (corporeal acts of mercy says it all). Be good – quietly go about your work, and avoid dissent and division!!

  87. 7-31-2013

    Judy,

    I can understand your concern, and I know that I often get carried away with conversation like this. Do you think it’s possible for Christians to disagree and discuss those disagreements while remaining at peace, unity, and fellowship in Jesus Christ? (I think it’s not only possible, but the authors of Scripture seemed to expect it…)

    -Alan

  88. 11-19-2013

    I really appreciate you expounding on the various words and meanings, and where they came from. It is very enlightening. I’m no scholar, but I have to say that I have a hard time concluding that the word we use is not important. Throughout the Bible, there are many words that have been used in place of the original word, which, do not support the original meaning well, and either completely change the intended message behind what was said (whether intentionally, or not, I can’t say), or as in the case of “church,” the meaning we apply to it conjures up images of a modern version of the temple system, which was put to an end with the old covenant. I think it’s very important that we stop using the word “church” in place of the ekklesia, as the temple system and its requirements have no place in our new covenant life in Christ. I don’t think we should underestimate the impact that subtle variations in meaning have over the centuries. Even a small pebble dropped into the water results in ripples that extend far and wide.

  89. 11-19-2013

    Kevin,
    You have made one of the most important points in this whole ekklesia/church issue. Namely that the organized structures of the modern day church system, bares no resemblance to the organic Way Jesus died to give us. The Temple system cannot contain the Spirit.

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